Families working together

  • Juggling act: fitness instructor Kelly Ingham with husband Zenji and children Kayla, Kenji, Seiji and Charlie (Photograph supplied)

    Juggling act: fitness instructor Kelly Ingham with husband Zenji and children Kayla, Kenji, Seiji and Charlie (Photograph supplied)

  • Learning curve: Joanna and Tyrone Smith with their son,Salem. Joanna has found working from home challenging  (Photograph supplied)

    Learning curve: Joanna and Tyrone Smith with their son,Salem. Joanna has found working from home challenging (Photograph supplied)


In the middle of a conference call Sophia Medeiros heard a thump from upstairs.

Then her three-year-old son Santiago appeared, covered in lotion, his shirt missing and his pants soaking wet.

The bank risk manager was working from home because of the social-distance regulations now in place to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

She quickly finished up her call and went upstairs, where she found the shower running, the bathroom floor flooded and wet towels everywhere.

“Santiago got into the lotion, proceeded to take a shower because he was covered in lotion and then realised he soaked the floor so tried to dry it up,” she said. “As he was trying to get out of the shower, he slipped and bumped his head. Because he was covered in lotion and soaking wet, he was slippery.”

Her son’s exploits have led her to start a private blog to amuse her friends and family.

“Whoever thought parents can work from home, home-school their children and, at the same time, watch them to make sure they don’t hurt or kill themselves was terribly wrong,” she joked.

Kelly-Anne Cocklin gained a new appreciation for teachers this week when her sons Elijah, 12, and Jamiah, 9, started their remote lessons.

“Teachers have to deal with so many different challenges,” she said. “Especially when you have children that have different learning ways like my youngest, who has dyslexia, so he needs a bit more help with his work and reading.”

Fitness instructor Kelly Ingham has four children.

Charlie, 13, Kayla, 11, Seiji, 8, and Kenji, 3, all go to different schools; trying to juggle all their subjects at the same time was stressful for the first couple of days.

“Once they all got themselves into a routine, it’s become a bit easier,” she said. Her secret is to be organised.

Normally, she runs KJS Fitness out of her Warwick home, but has now started teaching online. She tries to schedule classes when her children are doing their lessons.

Even the experts are struggling with homeschooling.

Joanna Smith teaches French and Spanish at the secondary level at Warwick Academy.

Working from home while her seven-year-old son Salem is learning remotely has taken some adjustment.

“I am definitely not fit to be a primary schoolteacher,” she said. “Huge kudos to the primary schoolteachers who have several little ones needing their attention for the duration of the school day.

“It is unfortunate that this is our new norm, but we must do what we have to do in order to get through this, hopefully without major incident.”

Malika Taylor, a partner at human resource and outsourcing firm Expertise Limited, said working from home with Sienna, 13, and Jackson, 10, hadn’t been too bad.

“As much as possible, I try to encourage everyone to stick to their normal routine,” she said. “If you exercise in the mornings, do that. If you make packed lunches and snacks for the day in the morning do that. The bottom line is, sticking to routine helps everyone feel comfort in the normal during a very abnormal time.”

She also suggested setting up a self-service snack bar so children — and spouses — don’t interrupt your conference call because they want a granola bar.

“You want everyone to be as self-sufficient as possible while you are trying to get your work done,” she said.

Ms Taylor also suggested everyone in the house get headphones. The last thing anyone working wants is to hear their children playing video games.

“The bottom line is, be flexible,” she said. “These are unprecedented times. There are no right ways or wrong ways to do this.”

Salintae Tuzo likes to hold impromptu dance parties when her two-year-old, Satya, gets stir crazy.

“Sometimes it’s her music and sometimes it’s mine depending on who needs it the most,” said the life coach who is now running her business, Metanoia Power, online.

With sickle cell anaemia she has to be particularly careful not to get sick.

“I nap when my daughter naps because, as someone who is immunocompromised, I’m trying to stay as healthy as possible and rest is a big part of that,” she said. “As a result, I continue to work weekends to ensure I’m being productive. I find time to focus on work while she’s eating.”

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Published Mar 26, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 8:07 am)

Families working together

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